zodiacal_light: That is not dead which can eternal lie; and with strange aeons even death may die. (even death may die)
Kaiba had taken to awkwardly haunting the game shop.

He never spoke to anyone. He barely spoke to anyone at all anymore, Yami understood from what he'd overheard Isono telling Sugoroku. Kaiba just drifted, keeping his company afloat by dint of long practice (and, Yami was certain, the efforts of his many loyal employees), randomly disappearing for weeks at a time before showing up to skulk around the game shop's stockroom, or sit at his chair in the kitchen, or hide in what was once the guest room and was now collectively thought of as Kaiba's bolt-hole.

He'd stopped playing Duel Monsters, refused to even touch his deck aside from the three dragon cards Yami knew were part of his soul, and one crudely-made rendition of a Duel Monsters card that Yami didn't need to see to know was the one Mokuba had drawn for him years ago, back when they still lived at the orphanage.

Yami felt a sudden surge of rage at the utter loss of a good duelist, a worthy rival, and just as suddenly felt ashamed. Of all the things to get upset over...
It's ok, other me,
he felt his aibou say. You're allowed to be upset.

Yami snorted, and Kaiba's head poked out from behind a shelf, staring at him in vague interest before retreating. Yami stared at the spot where Kaiba had disappeared, train of thought utterly derailed.

That's more of a reaction than he's shown to anything, Yugi said, nonplussed.

Yami's instincts said push it, and Yugi wasn't sure that was a bad idea, so Yami did. "Kaiba?"

Kaiba muttered something from behind the shelf.

Yami and Yugi exchanged mental glances. "Come again?"

Kaiba moved a boxed console, blue eyes glaring at Yami through the shelving unit in a way Yami had despaired of ever seeing again. "I said," he snapped, glaring a little more hotly at Yami's grin, "that if you're going to call me by my family name, you'd better call me by the right one."

Yami could feel Yugi blink. "But we don't know your real name," Yami said in the tone of utter reason he knew drove Jounouchi nuts.

It had the same effect on Kaiba. Before Yami realized what he was doing, Kaiba had reached through the shelf and snagged the front of his shirt, dragging Yami forward. "Takashiro," Kaiba snarled, then blinked and let Yami go.

Yami staggered, watching in confusion as Kaiba blankly put the box back. "...What's wrong?" the spirit asked gently.

"I'd forgotten that," Kaiba said in an almost singsongy voice. "Mokuba-" He cut himself off.

And that's the first time he's mentioned Mokuba, Yugi said, like Yami didn't already know. They waited, patient and calm, for Kaiba to continue.

To the surprise of both of them, he did. "Mokuba asked once, what our family name really was, back when he was still alive." There was only one he, the gang had long since sussed out. Kaiba Gozaburo. "He'd already forgotten. They didn't like to use family names at the orphanage, and Mokuba was so little when we were sent there." Kaiba paused. "I told him it didn't matter, and to drop it. I didn't know I remembered."

And he started to shut down again. Oh no you don't, Yami thought. "So are you changing your name back, then?" If he didn't want people calling him Kaiba anymore, he'd have to.

The stare leveled at Yami was flat, but there was something alive there that had Yugi doing a mental cheer. "I only became a Kaiba for Mokuba's sake," he said, tone sharp and flat all at once, and oddly determined. "I fought for the right. But Mokuba isn't here. And that bastard deserves no such remembrance."

Wow, Yugi said, impressed by the vehemence.

No kidding, Yami replied, before idly asking, "So we should call you Takashiro, then?" And before Kaiba could answer, he raised his eyes and caught Kaiba's stare with a level one of his own. "Or can we move on to 'Seto'?"

Kaiba blinked, then gave an awkward shrug, mouth sealing into a tight line as he moved off towards the back room.

Yami watched him go. "Seto it is, then."


zodiacal_light: Humour: Because angst is not jolly. (Default)

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